"A homely kind, apt for sundry necessary vses."
April 4, 2017 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Of Englishe dogges, the diversities, the names, the natures and the properties "A short treatise written in Latine ... and newly drawne into Englishe by Abraham Fleming" at archive.org is a rather wonderful, often poetic, occasionally goofy 16th century geeky paean to (English)man's best friend.

If you are wondering, as I'm sure you are, just what this treatise might entail, as well as: How is it is organized? Are these dogs really all English? And What About The Scots?, here are the answers to all your inquiries, straight (well, not quite "straight" but translated from the original Latin) from the horses mouth (wherein the horse is the author):
I wyll expresse and declare in due order, the grand and generall kinde of English Dogges, the difference of them, the vse, the propertyes and the diuerse natures of the same, making a tripartite diuision in this sort and maner.

All English Dogges be eyther of,

A gentle kinde, seruing the' game.
A homely kind, apt for sundry necessary vses.
A currishe kinde, meete for many toyes.

Of these three sortes or kindes so meane I to entreate, that the first in the first place, the last in the last roome, and the myddle sort in the middle seate be handled. I cal the vninersally all by the name of Englishe dogges, as well because England only, as it hath in it English dogs, so it is not without Scottishe, as also for that wee are more inclined and delighted with the noble game of hunting, for we Englishmen are adicted and giuen to that exercise, and paineful pastime of pleasure, as well for the plenty of fleshe which our Parkes and Forests doe foster, as also for the opertunitie and conuenient leisure which wee obtaiane, both which, the Scottes want.
and here is the author's, erm, "profopopoicall fpeache" poetic introduction, in which we possibly learn more about his hair and body than we strictly need to know:
A Profopopoicall fpeache
of the Booke.

Some tell of starres th'influence straunge,
Some tell of byrdes which flie in the'ayre,
Some tell of beastes on land which raunge.
   Some tell of fishe in riuers fayre,
Some tell of serpentes sundry sortes,
   Some tell of plantes the full effect,
Of English dogges I sound reportes,
   Their names and natures I detect,
My forhed is but baulde and bare :
   But yet my body's beutifull,
For plesaunt flowres in me there are,
   And not so fyne as plentifull :
And though my garden plot so greene,
   Of dogges receaue the trampling feete,
Yet is it swept and kept full cleene,
   So that it yeelds a sauour sweete.

— Ab.Fle.

Available to download as PDF, ePub, Plain Text, DAISY, and Kindle, though with sundry & diurse blemifhes in most. The archive.org reader (go to fullscreen view and zoom in) and PDF versions are probably best for conserving the charm of the original.
posted by taz (12 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Great find! Printed facsimiles would make wonderful gifts for the more erudite among dog fanciers.

(also I can't help thinking there must be a copy of this book in the Library of the Unseen University)
posted by JohnFromGR at 10:56 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

They are plesaunt Dogges, Brent
posted by theodolite at 11:26 AM on April 4, 2017 [20 favorites]

This is so cool! There are no reviews of this book at the document, but maybe you should post a link to this thread, taz?
posted by rpfields at 11:47 AM on April 4, 2017

posted by taz at 11:58 AM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh my god, I have had Of Englishe dogges saved on my hard drive for years, after discovering it who KNOWS how. Somehow I have never gotten around to reading it, but I laugh every time I re-encounter it.
posted by jeudi at 12:18 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

"When my Cat and I entertaine each other with mutuall apish tricks (as playing with a garter) who knows but that I make her more sport than she makes me? Shall I conclude her simple, that has her time to begin or refuse sportivenesse as freely as I myself have? Nay, who knows but that our agreeing no better, is the defect of my not understanding her language? (for doubtless Cats talk and and reason with one another) and that shee laughs at, and censures my folly, for making her sport, and pities mee for understanding her no better."

Montaigne, The Language of Animals
posted by BWA at 12:19 PM on April 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Is this the new My Name is Dog post?
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 1:24 PM on April 4, 2017

"Give your dogs short names, so you can call them easily. The following are good examples: Psyche, Pluck, Buckler, Spigot, Lance, Lurcher, Watch, Keeper, Brigade, Fencer, Butcher, Blazer, Prowess, Craftsman, Forester, Counsellor, Spoiler, Hurry, Fury, Growler, Riot, Bloomer, Rome, Blossom, Hebe, Hilary, Jollity, Gazer, Eyebright, Much, Force, Trooper, Bustle, Bubbler, Rockdove, Stubborn, Yelp, Killer, Pell-Mell, Strongboy, Sky, Sunbeam, Bodkin, Wistful, Gnome, Tracks, and Dash."

-Xenophon of Athens, Cynegeticus
posted by Iridic at 1:45 PM on April 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yay, my dog's name is Sky, and she's in Athens. I'm happy to be so coherent for once!
posted by taz at 1:53 PM on April 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I cannot believe how fun that was to skim - and don't miss the index or the pages of quality old-timey advertisements at the back of the book!
posted by dashdotdot dash at 2:47 PM on April 4, 2017

Great find!

I must read more about these lobster dogges!
posted by BlueHorse at 6:20 PM on April 4, 2017

I think I just read a bit about a Hare playing a tambourine or something. Best dog book!
posted by aesop at 6:51 PM on April 4, 2017

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